A real estate firm in Myrtle Beach is merging with the Coldwell Banker network that includes Wilmington-based Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage.
Coldwell Banker Chicora, which has been in the Myrtle Beach real estate market for 45 years, on Tuesday announced the merger with the network, comprised of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage of Greater Wilmington and Coldwell Banker Advantage of Raleigh, Fayetteville and Southern Pines.
With the merger, Coldwell Banker Chicora will now be known as Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage, according to a news release. The announcement was made Tuesday morning at a sales meeting attended by Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage agents at the offices of the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors, the release said.
Don Smith will remain as president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage, Cheryl Brush as vice president of operations and Rod Smith as director of general brokerage, and all will retain an ownership interest in the firm. According to the announcement, new business partners that come with the merger include Tim Milam, president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage; Gary Rabon, president of the Raleigh office of Coldwell Banker Advantage; Ralph Huff, president of the Fayetteville office of Coldwell Banker Advantage; and Brian Moxey, vice president and director of business development for Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage.
“Our Coldwell Banker franchise agreement was set to renew this year, so we felt the time was right to consider the best way forward for our company and agents,” Smith said in the release. “There was never any doubt that we would stay with the Coldwell Banker brand, but we began to explore the benefits of a partnership and how it could strengthen our firm and broaden our reach.
"Tim Milam and I have known each other for more than 20 years and often share ideas and best practices, particularly since Wilmington and Myrtle Beach have many market similarities as coastal communities," Smith continued.
Milam called Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage "a hugely successful company with a great reputation and excellent management team. We look forward to building on this success and helping take Chicora to the next level in the Grand Strand market.”
The change is expected to "spur new growth," Smith said. He said benefits include access to referrals throughout North Carolina; state-of-the-art technologies for homebuying and selling; an ability to reach a broader group of potential buyers to facilitate more sales; enhanced marketing and social media campaigns; access to a full-time training director; and a technology help desk for all agents, according to the news release.
One immediate change is the hiring of a full-time IT director to create and manage an on-site IT department and help desk, Milam said.
“Our industry is so dependent on technology and online and mobile transactions that it is imperative that all or our technologies are running smoothly at all times. The IT department at Sea Coast Advantage is invaluable and is credited with significantly increasing the efficiency of our agents since we instituted this several years ago," Milam said in the release.
Milam said the company will survey Chicora Advantage agents "to help identify their priorities and what tools and resources they need most to help grow their business."
Chicora Advantage has 165 agents in six offices in South Carolina from North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown.
Founded in Wilmington in 1988, Sea Coast Advantage joined Coldwell Banker in 1993 and has more than 450 real estate agents in 12 offices from Jacksonville to Holden Beach. Also established in 1988, Coldwell Banker Advantage has more than 430 agents in 18 offices from Raleigh to Fayetteville. The partnership of the two forms the No. 1 Coldwell Banker company in the state, No. 3 in North America in sales volume and No. 4 on the continent for closed transactions, with a more than $2.7 billion sales volume in 2016 and more than 12,600 transactions, according to the news release. The addition of Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage brings those figures up to $3 billion and more than 14,000 transactions.
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